Friday, November 28, 2014

Podcasting in the Classroom

Using Podcasts In Your Lessons

As an adult ESL teacher I find it very beneficial to use authentic materials in the classroom. Using NPR podcasts is a great way of introducing new, relevant vocabulary as well as allowing students to listen to a native speaker of English. I also like to use podcasts to practice notetaking skills and them hold a discussion about what was learned afterwords. NPR podcasts are clear audios but usually fast paced, therefore during a lesson comprehension and pre-listening questions are essential to make sure the students understand. A great podcast for all ages is You Bug Me. Now Science Explains Why. It's a very interesting podcast discussing pet peeves and the science behind them. 

Here are some sample pre-listening questions for the lesson:
What is NPR? What type of listening is it?
What type of note taking would you like to practice when listening to this NPR?
What Types of things annoy you?
Do the same things annoy everyone?
Why do you think certain things annoy certain people?
How do you deal with things that annoy you?

Here are some sample comprehension questions:
·         What sound is universally annoying?  Why?
·         What is a halfalogue? Why do people find it annoying?
·         Why do people feel “forced” to listen to the thing they are annoyed by?
·         What are our brains always predicting?
·         What is it hard to distinguish annoyances from?
How can we alleviate this sense of annoyance?

It's also important to discuss new vocabulary to help aid understanding. I put the vocabulary on quizlet so students may study them later on. 

Some standards that can be covered with this lesson are Standard- ESL1 and 5.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Comic Strips

Flipped Classroom

Another way to achieve the the flipped classroom is to use a comic strip to give the students information for homework and then talk about it in the classroom.

I created a short story or "comic" on Storybird called Jack and Jeanne. I decided to use storybird, even though it's not much like a comic because I didn't really like any of the other tools. Devolver seemed to kidish for me and Strip Generator was almost overwhelming. It seems that you have to completely plan our your comic strip before you even complete it which almost defeats the purpose of making it online. But I did enjoy the Storybird site, the artwork is beautiful and there is plenty of it. Though it seems that you have to write your story according to the photos you find instead of writing a story and trying to find pictures that match.

The standard covered in this activity is  Standard-ESL1: Language for Information and Understanding. ESL students will use English to collect ideas, discover relationships, concepts, and use knowledge from electronically produced texts. This standard will be tested by having the students activate prior knowledge about vocabulary families and pastimes/hobbies. They will then read the story Jack and Jeanne. In small grounds students will answer comprehension questions in order to collect data and discover relationships from the short electronically produced text. Then they will discuss why the children are imaging the special hobbies their new parents might do and why that is important to them. This will be an interesting concept for the students to discuss.

Digital Stories

 One way to achieve the flipped classroom is to make a video using a photo story tool such as Stupeflix. This tool is extremely easy to use! One simply chooses a catch song, uploads photos, and then they can place text on each photo. Then if you want you can upload the video to Youtube so it's easily accessible and students can make comments on it if needed, as well as search it and watch it when ever they want.

I decided to us the Stupeflix to introduce Idioms to students. I picked photos that I thought represented the idiom and then placed the text of the idiom on each slide.

The performance indicator being covered is Standard ESL2- Language for Literary Response and Expression. Students learning English as a second language will use English for self-expression... and participation in popular culture. This standard can be achieved by learning idioms and how to use them in everyday language as well as understanding them when native speakers are talking.

I would test this by talking about the idioms in small groups about the idioms and making definitions of what they think the idioms mean. I will then take a look and clarify if needed. Then I will have the students make a dialogue in class and perform the dialogue in class in front of their classmates who will interpret the use of the idioms and if they were used properly or not.  

Monday, November 10, 2014

TED Ed. Post #3

TED Ed. is quite the amazing platform for creating online lessons. I find it particularly valuable for making flipped classroom videos. Though it seems that we can only make lessons from TED talks, there are an abundance of Ted talks and ways they can apply to the classroom. I choose Maysoon Zayid's Ted Talk "I've good 99 problems but palsy is just one" for my flipped classroom video.

The Maysoon Zayid TED Ed addresses many language learning objectives. The performance indicators that I'd use are Standard-ESL1: Language for information and understanding. I can have students collecting ideas, concepts, and generalizations, and use knowledge from electronically produced texts. Also applicable is Standard - ESL 3: Language for Critical Analysis and Evaluation: Students will listen, speak, read, and write in English for critical analysis and evaluation. Students will use English to express opinions and judgements on experiences, messages, and issues from a variety of perspectives

The students can meet these standards by watching the Ted Talk for homework. Then in the classroom they can conduct a short research project about cerebral palsy and what the disorder means and how people can obtain it. This short research project will meet Standard-ESL1. Then the students can meet Standard ESL 3. by either participating in a discussion or writing a short journal about cerebral palsy and how it would effect their life if they had it. They can answer questions using information from the research, TED talk, and own experience to think about how it would effect their lives and therefore how inspirational Maysson is in all her accomplishments.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Post #2 Performance Indicators and Assessment

Continuing on my last blog post about Flipped Classrooms. We use a neat website called TubeChop to edit a video of our choice that we could use in our flipped classroom. The video I choose was a Clip From Maysoon Zayid: I got 99 problems... palsy is just one Ted talk. 

The performance indicators that I can test from are Standard-ESL1: Language for information and understanding. Specifically I would focus on collecting ideas, concepts, and generalizations, and use knowledge from electronically produced texts. I will also test from  Standard - ESL 3: Language for Critical Analysis and Evaluation: Students will listen, speak, read, and write in English for critical analysis and evaluation. More specifically students will use English to express opinions and judgements on experiences, messages, and issues from a variety of perspectives

Students would watch the video for homework and then answer comprehension questions about the video to make sure they understood. If they did not they could go back and watch the clip again. I would first address Standard ESL 1 by having students conduct a short research assignment about cerebral palsy such as what it is and how if effects the daily life of people who have it. Students will be using this standard because they will be using knowledge from electronically produced texts to collect ideas, concepts and generalizations about cerebral palsy. I would then test the students in class by having the students synthesize the information from the previous research assignment, the Ted talk and their own personal lives to write a journal about how their life would be different if they had cerebral palsy. They would be addressing standard-ESL3 because they would be expressing their opinion and judgement from a different perspective. In class I would have to do some modeling and instruction, possibly giving a few sentence frames for lower level students for expression opinion.

7 Things you Should Know about Flipped Classrooms Post #1

During my undergraduate work I went to the NCTE conference in Albany. There were many great lectures and workshops there but one of the presentations that really stood out to me was about Flipped Classrooms. This is a really interesting concept to me so I was glad when it was brought up in my technology class.
For class we read 7 Things You Should Know About Flipped Classrooms. Now, what exactly is a flipped classroom? The flipped classroom is when a traditional classroom is flipped on its head. So, traditionally the lecture would be given during the class and the homework would be completed later as a review, but instead the lecture is given as homework and the homework is completed in the classroom. In order to deliver the lectures outside of class short video lectures are viewed by students at home before the class session. Then during the class students are doing what we consider homework such as exercises, projects, or discussions. Here is a nice chart illustrating the differences:

To me this sounds like an idealistic goal. I would love to do this in my class because the homework can be the biggest struggle because each student gleans something different from the lecture and the teacher needs to supplement or clarify the information but they cannot do that if the student is at home. If the students needs to they can listen to the lecture as many times as they want at home whereas in the classroom the teacher only delivers the lecture one time in hopes that the students are somewhat paying attention. I think that modeling and feedback are key components to learning and teachers simply don't have enough time to do both during the class time. Therefore if the lectures are sent home with the students then they can listen, take notes, and ask questions in class the next day about anything that was confusing.

Though there are implications according to the Things You Should Know About Flipped Classrooms article. An effective flip requires careful preparation. "Recording lectures requires effort and time on the part of faculty, and out-of-class and in-class elements must be carefully integrated for students to understand the model and be motivated to prepare for class. As a result, introducing a flip can mean additional work and may require new skills for the instructor, although this learning curve could be mitigated by entering the model slowly" (EDUCAUSE). I think that thought it take a lot of outside preparation it would be a great model to try. If the teachers are given more tools and planning periods I think the flipped classroom can be achievable.

Monday, October 20, 2014

The Undocumented: A Serious Game

Serious games can be a great way to intrigue and engage your students by using flow and fiero while they are still utilizing important strategies and skills. The game I decided to play and blog about is called The Migrant Trail which is based off of the documentary The Undocumented by Marco Williams on PBS. 
THE MIGRANT TRAIL presents a first-person journey through Arizona’s desert borderlands.  Play as an undocumented immigrant attempting to cross the Arizona desert and/or a border patrol agent attempting to secure the border.  Playing the game offers an alternative  platform to further engage conversation, investigation and inquiry, into the themes and questions raised by the documentary.
Migrant Mode IntroEvery year an unknown number of migrants cross through the harsh Sonoran desert from Mexico into Arizona. They pay $1500-$2500 to join a crossing party, that is led by for hire guides referred to as Coyotes. If one cannot keep up, twists ankle or runs out of water, he or she is left behind and many die. On average, the remains of 200 dead migrants are found each year.  It’s not known how many are never found.
Border Patrol Mode IntroEvery day U.S. Border Patrol agents patrol the Sonoran Desert along the Arizona-Mexico border. Their job is to apprehend undocumented border crossers, provide first aid to the injured, and locate the remains of dead migrants.
After gathering background knowledge about the documentary and the game I played the game four times; two time as Patrol officer Anderson (because when I returned to the game it didn't save my progress) and two times as a Migrant (once as Diego and once as Adriana). 

First I played as the patrol officer Anderson. The first thing you hear is some haunting music which really sets the tone for the game. When you click on your character it gives a back story about the officer using prologue as seen above. You are given 5 hours on patrol (5 minutes). You drive around a car using a similar method to the Escape the Room Games. While you are pointing and clicking you are looking for foot prints which will go out of sight once the car moves past them. Then once you see a foot print and have to click on it quickly (this game is much easier with a mouse). Once you click on the foot prints you will see a dialogue box which you must respond to. Sometimes you will follow the foot prints to a dead body, sometimes you have to chase them, sometimes you will find them and have to administer first aid or you can just bring them in sick in which case they have a higher chance of dying but it also wastes a lot of your time. The best part is that you get to make the choice, choose the direction you want to go in or if you even want to click on the footprints. At the end you will get a total of migrants apprehended, died, applied first aid, miles traveled. At first you feel good about saving people because you administered first aid and were careful about clicking all of the footprint but then upon seeing the other statistics you then realize how many died and you feel like you should have been able to save them.  

Then I played as a migrant. First you are given a back story with a prologue similar to the patrol officer. Your objective is to cross the desert and meet with your coyote so you can see your family again. With the migrant you first need to go shopping with only $100 to get you through the trip; you need to plan strategically so you have enough supplies but are not overloaded. Then you are on your way and it's a constant struggle. You are always eating and drinking things to keep up your hydration and energy but they keep going down. Sometimes you will have popups and you need to decide if you want to take them or not because they will effect your health. You also have to be aware of patrol cars but they are mostly unavoidable. It's such a relief when you arrive to the safe point but it's so scary at the same time because I only had one jug of water left.  
There are so many language learning objectives that can be met by watching the documentary and then playing the game. I think an important standard being met would be Standard-ESL3: Language for Critical Analysis and Evaluation. To meet this standard students must use English to express their opinions and judgement on experiences, messages, ideas, information, and issues from a variety of perspectives. This game makes meeting this standard very easy! After watching the documentary students can write their own opinion of the migrants trying to cross the boarder. Then the students can play the games as a patrol officer and a migrant and compare and contrast their varying view points. 
Students can complete these objectives through Kyle Mawer's task types. Problem solving: Analyzing actions & consequences of the game sequence as well as discussing game strategy. Personal: Describing personal preferences/ opinions of the migrant trail. Storytelling: narrating the story of the patrol officers and the migrants through their points of view.